Welcome to DU! The truly grassroots left-of-center political community where regular people, not algorithms, drive the discussions and set the standards. Join the community: Create a free account Support DU (and get rid of ads!): Become a Star Member All Forums Issue Forums Culture Forums Alliance Forums Region Forums Support Forums Help & Search


JHan's Journal
JHan's Journal
April 30, 2017

James Vardaman - One of the original White Demagogues

"So who was this Mississippi carnival barker, known for his white suits and white cowboy hat and long dark locs, who claimed to be the voice of "rednecks" and "hillbillies"? James Vardaman had been a newspaperman, who understand the power of invective. Southerners from Andrew Johnson to Wade Hampton had recurred to the barnyard insult when they damned their enemies. For Vardaman, democracy, no matter how dirty, belonged to "the people", and the people had the right to say whatever they felt. Friends and foes alike called him the "White Chief," partly for his white garb and partly for his supremacist rhetoric. But he was a "medicine man" to his enemies, a witch doctor who knew how to inflame the low-down tribe of white savages.

"He saw himself as the defender of poor whites. In his run for the governorship in 1903, Vardaman pitted poor whites against all blacks. Educating blacks was pointless and dangerous, he argued, and the state should ensure that tax dollars from white citizens should only go to white schools. The consummate showman rode to Senate victory in 1912 - quite literally - on the back of an ox. When his Democratic primary opponent derided his supporters as an ignorant herd, he exploited the incident. Travelling through Mississippi giving speeches, he liked to pull up in a "cracker cart" amid a long line of cattle. At one rally he rode into town astride a single ox. The beast was adorned with flags and streamers labeled "redneck," "cattle," and "lowdown." He dramatically embraced the white trash identity."

Insofar as the surviving planter elite and middle-class Mississippians despised Vardaman, he intentionally drummed up class resentments. In his reminiscence, William Percy, the son of Vardaman's Democratic opponent, Le Roy Percy, best expressed the class anger. Recalling how he surveyed the surly crowd, wondering if Vardaman's army would launch rotten eggs at his father, Percy wrote:

"They were the sort of people that lynch Negroes, that mistake hoodlumism for wit, and cunning for intelligence, that attend revivals and fight and fornicate in the bushes afterwards. They were undiluted Ango-Saxons. They were the sovereign voter. It was so horrible it seemed unreal."

Though he had no patience for the politics of hate run as a sideshow, Percy conceded that Vardaman was a savvy politician who gave the "sovereign voter" what he wanted - red meat.

Roosevelt, a patrician, had little choice but to joust with his redneck foes. In 1905, during his southern tour, he rebuked Arkansas governor Jeff Davis for defending the lynch mob. One newspaper joked that the president's entourage was wise to travel though Mississippi at night, so that Vardaman wouldn't have to shoot him. Roosevelt also ruffled the feathers of the proud white women of the South when he had dared to class Jefferon Davis ( the Confederate President) with Benedict Arnold. When he did that, one incensed Georgia woman declared that the president had dishonoored his mother's blood."

From White Trash, by Nancy Isenberg

I don't need to point out modern day parallels.
April 20, 2017

Florida's real estate nightmare: Disappearing coastlines.

This is an emergency, and those in charge don't care.

The Nightmare Scenario for Florida’s Coastal Homeowners

Demand and financing could collapse before the sea consumes a single house.

“These boats are going to be the canary in the mine,” said Cason, who became mayor in 2011 after retiring from the U.S. foreign service. “When the boats can’t go out, the property values go down.”

If property values start to fall, Cason said, banks could stop writing 30-year mortgages for coastal homes, shrinking the pool of able buyers and sending prices lower still. Those properties make up a quarter of the city’s tax base; if that revenue fell, the city would struggle to provide the services that make it such a desirable place to live, causing more sales and another drop in revenue.

And all of that could happen before the rising sea consumes a single home.

As President Donald Trump proposes dismantling federal programs aimed at cutting greenhouse gas emissions, officials and residents in South Florida are grappling with the risk that climate change could drag down housing markets. Relative sea levels in South Florida are roughly four inches higher now than in 1992. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicts sea levels will rise as much as three feet in Miami by 2060. By the end of the century, according to projections by Zillow, some 934,000 existing Florida properties, worth more than $400 billion, are at risk of being submerged.

The impact is already being felt in South Florida. Tidal flooding now predictably drenches inland streets, even when the sun is out, thanks to the region’s porous limestone bedrock. Saltwater is creeping into the drinking water supply. The area’s drainage canals rely on gravity; as oceans rise, the water utility has had to install giant pumps to push water out to the ocean.

The effects of climate-driven price drops could ripple across the economy, and eventually force the federal government to decide what is owed to people whose home values are ruined by climate change.

Sean Becketti, the chief economist at Freddie Mac, warned in a report last year of a housing crisis for coastal areas more severe than the Great Recession, one that could spread through banks, insurers and other industries. And, unlike the recession, there’s no hope of a bounce back in property values.

April 20, 2017

How Wolves Change Rivers

This month, one of the alpha females of the Canyon pack - a rare white wolf - was seriously injured and euthanized.

I've been privileged to see her in action at Yellowstone. She was a magnificent creature, and had eight litters! ( thanks for the info 2naSalit )

If you haven't seen this *minidocumentary yet, it's worth a watch although it's a bit simplistic. This isn't the full story of recovery at Yellowstone, wolves haven't been the perfect fix. Willow-recovery is still sluggish, due to beavers and elks.

Still, wolf behavior is part of the dynamic behind this trophic cascade at Yellowstone. The predatory patterns of wolves are predictable - they target the sick, the lame, the slowest. Yellowstone's deer population was reduced but not eliminated so they became more resilient and ecological balance was restored to areas impacted by the effects of overgrazing.

April 20, 2017

So what lessons have we learned about 2017 America?

-Boast about grabbing women by the pussy, insult and belittle them and you can still be President of the United States.

-Sexually harass women at work, be a sexist junkhead, and even if you're let go you can still get millions in a sweet payoff.

April 19, 2017

Hillary Clinton, the "flawed candidate".

Last night I watched Brian Williams interview the authors of "Shattered". The authors have done some sterling work in the past, which includes their book on HRC's stint at the State Department.

But Brian Williams persisted in using the phrase "flawed candidate" with reference to HRC and the authors agreed.

"flawed candidate" is one of the most inane phrases in politics. It's an asterisk that denies a person their greatness and an absurd caveat.

U.S. Presidents still held in high regard were "flawed". Some of these men owned human beings and had sex with them, today we would call that rape. Some of them had insane egos, were notorious philanderers, were liars and cheats. Some would not survive in today's climate of politics yet their actions helped us evolve into a more compassionate society - like the abolition of slavery, women's suffrage, the civil rights act and an awareness that politics should improve the lives of people who are different to us. These flawed presidents used the system to improve lives, and they are viewed as "Great Men" - not flawed, not "establishment" men per se, but Great Men - period.

Enter Hillary Clinton, and her belief that the system can do good - and this is seen as shocking and her being out of touch because she is an "establishment" candidate. The broadsided attacks of the "establishment" by populists created an insatiable appetite in the Political Media for more chaos because chaos breeds ratings. "Flawed" was handy to drag Hillary, who never made it a secret she despised the press, to the level of her opponent, a charlatan who hates the system and lacks the skills to make the system work even if he cared a damn. He is unscrupulous so he wants to tear systems down for the sake of it because systems are complex and contain checks and balances that hold people to account.

The desperate attempts to disparage Clinton using the "Flawed" meme reached its zenith with the email server use and the witch hunt that was Benghazi . Hillary is no more a warmonger than past Presidents but you'd swear she was Idi Amin if we go by the histrionics of her harshest critics and her husband's scandals aren't her scandals. A public servant was equated with a man whose narcissism is only excelled by his ignorance and yet Pundits, commentators and journalists couldn't, for all their experience in politics, suss this out for themselves. They fed and keep feeding the anti-establishment narrative and for all their outrage, unwittingly helped elect the most unsuitable person to the presidency in decades.

Peter Daou? put it best "All of this mess, every last bit of it, is because the media, left and right wantonly smeared and slandered this lifelong public servant"

April 11, 2017

Conspiracy theories about the Syrian air strike:

Some of these arguments are not persuasive.

I know Bannon and Trump don't give a fk about norms but some of these conspiracies give these unevolved fools way too much credit.

Conspiracy #1- Trump greenlighted the strike to boost his stock in Raytheon -

We have seen no proof Trump liquidated his stock holdings last summer as he claimed, but I don't see the big pay off here if he still retained those stock assets. The main areas of conflict of interest for Trump are his business assets. What should set alarms off on the outrage meter is his proposed increase in the defense budget made possible by starving critical agencies like the EPA, not his stock portfolio last year.

Conspiracy #2 - The strike was Putin's idea.

Russia and Syria were notified of the attack and this advice would have come from either McMaster or Mattis. The purpose of the attack was "symbolic" or to "send a message" - they chose the minimal option that would ruffle the least feathers. A minimal attack doesn't prove Putin whispered in his ear. Increased military activity by the U.S. doesn't advance Putin's interests since his alliance with Assad has less to do with love for Assad and more to do with retaining unimpeded access to Russia's naval base in Tartus.

Conspiracy #3 Trump used the strike to deflect from Russiagate.

This is possible, but it again gives Trump too much credit.

The chemical attack on Syria's innocent children begged a response from "the Leader of the Free World" and he chose a strike. After a year on the campaign trail decrying interventionism, he has since realised that continuing to push isolationism has made him look weak . Nikki Haley receives more praise for her forthrightness on Russia and Syria, while McMaster and Mattis are considered the only two grown ups in his administration leaving Trump looking ineffectual . So he decided to do something.... A political leader with a comprehensive raison d'être behind their foreign policy would not look as weak, but Trump is incoherent, has no philosophy or convictions beyond enriching himself which is why as POTUS he will continue making rash, impulsive decisions and why he has no business being in the W.H.

April 6, 2017

An article from the Intercept, confirming what many already knew...

Surprising, since I don't care much for the Intercept.

When some leaders say things that are demonstrably wrong it's a slap in the face to what we- PoC who make up a sizeable base of the Dem party- have experienced.


by Mehdi Hasan

Philip Klinkner, a political scientist at Hamilton College and an expert on race relations, has pored over this ANES data and tells me that “whether it’s good politics to say so or not, the evidence from the 2016 election is very clear that attitudes about blacks, immigrants, and Muslims were a key component of Trump’s appeal.” For example, he says, “in 2016 Trump did worse than Mitt Romney among voters with low and moderate levels of racial resentment, but much better among those with high levels of resentment.”

The new ANES data only confirms what a plethora of studies have told us since the start of the presidential campaign: the race was about race. Klinkner himself grabbed headlines last summer when he revealed that the best way to identify a Trump supporter in the U.S. was to ask “just one simple question: is Barack Obama a Muslim?” Because, he said, “if they are white and the answer is yes, 89 percent of the time that person will have a higher opinion of Trump than Clinton.” This is economic anxiety? Really?

Other surveys and polls of Trump voters found “a strong relationship between anti-black attitudes and support for Trump”; Trump supporters being “more likely to describe African Americans as ‘criminal,’ ‘unintelligent,’ ‘lazy’ and ‘violent’”; more likely to believe “people of color are taking white jobs”; and a “majority” of them rating blacks “as less evolved than whites.” Sorry, but how can any of these prejudices be blamed on free trade or low wages?

For Sanders, Warren and others on the left, the economy is what matters most and class is everything. Yet the empirical evidence just isn’t there to support them. Yes Trump won a (big) majority of non-college-educated whites, but he also won a majority of college-educated whites, too. He won more young white voters than Clinton did and also a majority of white women; he managed to win white votes regardless of age, gender, income or education. Class wasn’t everything in 2016. In a recent essay in The Nation, analysts Sean McElwee and Jason McDaniel point out that “income predicted support for McCain and Romney, but not Trump.” Their conclusion? “Racial identity and attitudes have further displaced class as the central battleground of American politics.”

See also Blue_Tires post here: https://www.democraticunderground.com/118760856

The situation is deplorable.
April 6, 2017

Lab Grown Meat - The Future of Meat

Soon, hopefully, the idea we ever used live animals to feed millions will be considered barbaric.

Instead of intensive animal farming - which is not an efficient use of land, impacts the environment and is partly responsible for antibiotic resistance, the spread of disease, and harmful to animals - factory farms will replicate cultured cells of chicken, meat , maybe even plants.

April 6, 2017

The False Promise of Populism:

Key Findings

- In 2017, more than half of the 29 countries in the report had declines in their Democracy Scores: 18 countries’ scores dropped. This is the second biggest decline in the survey’s history, almost as large as the drop following the 2008 global financial crisis.

- For the first time since 1995, there are now more Consolidated Authoritarian Regimes than Consolidated Democracies.

- Hungary now has the lowest ranking in the Central European region. Poland’s score reached its lowest point in the survey. In these countries, populist leaders have attacked constitutional courts, undermined checks and balances, and have turned public media into propaganda arms.

- Kyrgyzstan fell back in to the category of Consolidated Authoritarian Regimes, a category it had left after competitive parliamentary elections in 2011.

- The bright spots in NIT 2017 were Ukraine, Romania, and Kosovo. Ukraine and Kosovo made modest gains due to gradual structural reforms, and Kosovo’s category improved to Transitional/Hybrid Regime. In Romania, a caretaker government addressed a number of outstanding issues, such as problems in the voting process during the previous elections.

What is this populism?

At its core, it pits a mystically unified “nation” against corrupt “elites” and external enemies, and claims for a charismatic leader the power to voice the will of the nation. It is therefore fundamentally illiberal, rejecting diversity of identity and of opinion within society and discarding basic principles of modern constitutional thinking: that democracy requires constraints on the will of the majority and checks on the decisions of the executive. It feeds on the gap between what mainstream political leaders promise and what they deliver, which is why the utopian vision and quotidian results of the EU have nourished its growth. The anti-elitist, anti-immigration, and protectionist platforms of the Brexit and Trump campaigns drew on the same set of frustrations.

It was no surprise, then, that populists in Europe celebrated the events of 2016, and none more enthusiastically than Orbán, who hailed Trump’s victory as the end of “liberal non-democracy” and “the return to real democracy.” The year was also a triumph for Vladimir Putin. For the past decade, the Russian leader has backed populists in Europe and the United States as part of a covert effort to destabilize the transatlantic order. The results in 2016 were perhaps beyond his wildest dreams. Although Russia’s economy continues to stagnate, Putin seems tantalizingly close to his goal of a new division of Europe into Western and Russian spheres of influence.

"With the United States suddenly ambivalent about the EU and NATO, countries across the region are likely to rush to exploit new opportunities, hedge against worst-case scenarios, and secure existing gains before a new equilibrium is reached. Nationalist and revanchist appeals could once again become the most powerful currency for vulnerable leaders and parties. Every country will have to rebalance its security, diplomatic, and domestic policies absent the traditional assumptions about American power and interests.

This rebalancing could increase the threat of war in Europe and Eurasia. Early 2017 has already brought the worst fighting in two years in eastern Ukraine, rising tensions between Kosovo and Serbia, and increasing inter-ethnic tension in the political crisis in Macedonia. And after engaging in their deadliest combat in 22 years in April 2016, Armenia and Azerbaijan are watching closely to see whether the new U.S. administration is still committed to preserving peace in the Caucasus.

read more - Extensive Nations in Transit 2017 report covering the roots, tensions and the threats posed by the rise of populism in Europe and Eurasia: https://freedomhouse.org/report/nations-transit/nations-transit-2017

April 5, 2017

Black Lives Matter

Tampa Bay Times studied 827 police shootings, here's what they found:

Click link for the (depressing) infographic here: http://www.tampabay.com/projects/2017/investigations/florida-police-shootings/if-youre-black/

Meanwhile, Sessions gives a big F U to police reform: Jeff Sessions orders review of police reforms prompted by high-profile shootings .All reform agreements between justice department and local police forces, including Ferguson and Baltimore, to be reexamined, attorney general says: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/apr/04/jeff-sessions-review-police-reforms-high-profile-shootings

Profile Information

Gender: Female
Member since: Sun Sep 11, 2016, 12:18 AM
Number of posts: 10,173

About JHan

Be true, be brave, stand. All the rest is darkness.

Journal Entries

Latest Discussions»JHan's Journal